Aditi is really thrilled about the way 2023 has turned out for her. Read, as she reflects on the year that was. A year where AAC was her companion through some of the most important moments in her life so far.
This is an Avaz Megaphone feature.
Reflections in December
December is among my favorite months of the year. The nip in the air creates a wonderful frame of mind. One that is perfect to sit back in and take stock of the year that was. And what a year 2023 was!
If I choose to write the story of my life someday, 2023 will headline the chapter on keystone life events. Between a book launch, an award, presenting at the United Nations, and getting selected for a prestigious fellowship on public policy – this year has been eventful with a capital E. Come to think of it, this could just be the beginning. I am optimistic and upbeat about the year(s) ahead – my best is yet to be!
Does this statement sound strange, coming, as it does, from a nonspeaking autistic? Well, it would not, had you discovered the immense power that technology and AAC possess. For together, they become my voice!
To re-iterate the power of technology, I would like to recount an incident that occurred during the fellowship. During the fellowship, we have to run a campaign on a sub-theme within three main thematic areas. These areas include Climate Justice, Gender Justice, and Disability Rights. My cohort of fellows was divided into teams of five. We then got to choose a sub-theme, design the creatives, and run the campaign as a team. My team chose the sub-theme of raising awareness about autism among teenagers and fostering social inclusion. Fair enough – for me, it is all in a day’s work!
Over a period of two weeks we created original narratives about autistic experiences. As you can guess – the creator was none other than yours truly! We then disseminated those narratives in the form of comic strips and podcasts.
I Can Speak For Myself!
Now, what is a podcast without a trailer, you may say. We had the very same thought. So we decided to create a trailer where each one of us speaks two lines from a paragraph introducing our campaign. My team members know that I communicate with them during the sessions on the chat box and WhatsApp at other times. They wanted to know if one of them could speak my lines for me. But hey, why do I need someone else to speak my mind, when I have a voice of my own? Isn’t that what my Avaz App is there for? So, we each recorded our lines. Mine was in the digital Avaz voice and the others in their human voices.
Interestingly my lines, are bang in the middle of the medley of human voices. It stands out, I stand out. I am different and that is what makes me, ME! Such is the power of technology!
The fellowship has been a great learning experience so far. It would not have been possible if I did not possess a voice. My voice has not only helped me communicate, express, learn, and make my presence felt; it has also helped me nurture my leadership skills in these three weeks.
The Best Is Yet To Come
Like they say, nothing is impossible! Not if you are willing to think outside the box and pursue your dreams with a single-minded determination. Here’s hoping that 2024 brings with it more learning, more experiences, and a greater joy to be me.
Until next year- keep the faith!
Avaz Megaphone is a platform for neurodivergent individuals to express themselves through the written word. We accept opinion pieces, short stories and poetry. Authors of accepted works will receive an honorarium. To make a submission please email us on: email@example.com
Student & Writer
Aditi Sowmyanarayan is an eighteen year old who uses Avaz, a text to speech app, to communicate. She goes to Ishanya India Foundation, a special school in Bengaluru. Aditi is an avid blogger and an aspiring writer. She blogs on www.smallstepbigthought.blogspot.com
She can be reached on Instagram at writeaditi and on her Facebook page : small step big thought